May 22, 2024

Victorian euthanasia bill one step closer to passing

The Victorian upper house continues to debate the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.

Victoria’s euthanasia bill has passed a major hurdle, with the upper house voting to progress the bill to a committee stage before a final vote.

The Members of the Legislative Council voted 22-18 in favour of the bill after a second reading, and will now debate a range of proposed amendments aimed at strengthening safeguards and tightening eligibility criteria.

Parliament sat for two days as members gave impassioned speeches both for and against the proposed euthanasia scheme.

Labor MP Harriet Shing brought the chamber to tears as she described caring for her brother Patrick as his body was wracked with pain by aggressive prostate cancer that spread to his bones.

“We were hopeless and helpless,” she said. “I used to hear him weeping in his room at night when he thought I couldn’t hear”.

Liberal MP Inga Peulich said the debate had made her feel “sick to the stomach” and warned that she could faint before reaching the end of her speech, as she implored MPs to oppose the bill.

Among the proposed amendments to the bill are that the maximum life expectancy of patients be shortened from 12 to 6 months, and that more precautions be taken to ensure that ineligible individuals cannot access the lethal drugs.

Late last month the bill cleared the lower house of Parliament after a marathon four-day sitting.

Victorian euthanasia bill one step closer to passing
Xavier Symons
Creative commons